Transcendence (Orchestral)- Lindsey Stirling

Call Tom Cotton at 202-224-2353 ~~ Jon Soltz,

VoteVets.orgSince General Eaton’s letter, over 30,000 veterans, military family members, and VoteVets supporters have signed our petition expressing their disappointment with Tom Cotton’s mutinous letter to Iran’s leaders.

Now he needs to hear your voice.

Call Senator Cotton’s D.C. office at 202-224-2353 and let him know that you support a diplomacy-first approach to disabuse Iran of their nuclear ambitions. Report on your call when it’s complete.

A few very important notes:

1. If you’re a veteran or military family member, please be sure to indicate that when you begin the conversation.

2. Be brief, polite, and courteous when you call. You’re probably talking to a hard-working staff member and others are trying to call, many with local concerns.

3. Above all else, make sure you let the staffer know you disapprove of Senator Cotton’s letter and that you’ll be following this issue with interest.

Thanks for making the call,

Jon Soltz
Iraq War Veteran and Chairman

Strengthening Our Children’s Futures


Principles To Guide The Reauthorization Of Federal Education Policy

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) into law to ensure all kids, no matter their family’s income level, zip code, or background, receive an education that gives them an opportunity for success. Since then the legislation has gone through changes, but at its core it maintained a federal role in education that focuses on promoting equity and ensuring that disadvantaged students receive the resources needed for a quality education.

The latest version of the ESEA, more commonly known as No Child Left Behind, has been long overdue for reauthorization, and it looks like this year Congress may actually take action. There is no question that NCLB is outdated and broken, but it must be changed in a way that puts students first. In that light, the Center for American Progress has joined with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to highlight key principles that should be included in the new version of the law.

Far from outlining a complete set of recommendations for the reauthorization of this critical legislation, these share principles are rather a statement of what good education policy should be in some of the core — and controversial — areas of debate. They are intended to encourage Congress to work together on a bipartisan basis to improve the legislation. And the hope is that, with these shared principles in mind, new federal policy will ensure that all students — and especially those who have traditionally been the most disadvantaged — are prepared to compete in a global economy.

Below is a summary of the shared principles that CAP and AFT have released, and click here to check out the full statement.

  • Address funding inequities to improve teaching and learning;
  • Give parents and communities useful information about whether students are working at grade level or are struggling, and allow teachers to diagnose and help their students. This means maintaining the federal requirement for annual statewide testing in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school;
  • Disaggregate assessment results by subgroups, including race and income level, and use these assessment results to identify where learning gaps exist;
  • Provide a system of multiple measures for accountability and relieve some of the unintended pressure of tests on students;
  • Design accountability systems intended to identify and target interventions for schools with large achievement gaps or large numbers of low-performing disadvantaged kids;
  • Raise the bar for entry to and through the teacher pipeline including at least doubling the investments for states and districts to elevate the teaching profession and support educators.

BOTTOM LINE: The goal of federal education policy should be to prepare future generations for success and ensure that disadvantaged students have access to the resources they need. With the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind under consideration, now is a critical time to make necessary changes to strengthen our education system. These shared principles should serve as a guide to doing so — our children deserve no less.

Ferguson bias

just another rant …


Ferguson is back in the news and most of the media whether from the states or overseas describes Ferguson as an “embattled city” has also had some positive changes happen since that DOJ report.

This report not only informed America that a small town has been under control, it has been used as a revenue source and subject to search seizures stops while driving ,shopping, walking for just being black. Ferguson is 67% black 85% cited and those residents make up 93% of all arrests. However, their police department is about 96% white and if you listen to the Mayor or police officials their excuses are that far and few Blacks apply, or are not qualified to be on the force.  The DOJ report in my opinion validated what residents were saying after Mike Brown was killed, some say has been going on for years possibly decades lest we include comments about other “Ferguson’s” all over our country is obviously disturbing. It is now our 21st Century reality that comes from fear, politicians who get votes from fear mongering and a learned behavior culture that should be followed and reformed as the DOJ report suggests even if this scathing report comes from outside authorities. Yet, after watching the press conference, the viewer gets the idea that the information from that DOJ report is devastating, brutal and based on fact though Ferguson officials appear to be acing like they are going to stall or shove immediate changes to the back burner. We all saw Mayor Knowles reaction and it may have been a natural response by folks in leadership or those in positions of power, but the longer they wait to implement change the tougher it will be to hold his title even if folks have been leaving or supposedly fired. This finding by the DOJ was validating and clearly just the beginning as real change will take elections that replace the problem and get those into office that will have the courage to diversify Ferguson. They need leaders that create solutions, take responsibility and  not run or hide from it.  Finding out that some of these people in leadership positions will be paid for a year is offensive. I object to paying people who clearly ignored, avoided, closed their eyes or participated quietly if those emails were sent out in-house only with racial slurs or bias is on the backs of those leaders in the police department.

Anyway, I was checking my email looking at blogs when a blogger exercising their 1st amendment rights seemed to have sparked a response from me and as stated on their blog ~~ feel free to respond and that response is below …

This is just my opinion and quite possibly it has some ill feelings attached, but maybe you should re-read your entry because you constantly state that you only know what is being reported yet you write.

“In my mind’s eye I can almost envision some backward baseball cap vigilante thinking to himself/herself that he or she was taking the appropriate action required to “Take Murica Back.”

I hope folks know that what gets reported can be subjective and while there are several reports from Wednesday are that the shots came from across the street, which they say were almost a block down, behind and away from where the peaceful protestors were. It was also reported that police drew guns within seconds on what seemingly were peaceful protestors even while there was “agitation” prior to the shooting and quite possibly “outside agitators.”  We all need to be reminded that this is also something that has not occurred since August, which could very well mean someone from the outside was at it again and or it could have been a resident. I want to make sure you know believe me anyone who shoots at civilians and or police for no reason are guilty, but you have decided to tell your readers what that looks like and that is just wrong. Why, because we do not know if the shooter/vigilante had a backward baseball cap yet. Unfortunately, this seems to be code for “black male” and if that assumption is wrong, I would definitely stand corrected.  I was taught to know, that not all white folks are bad, racists , wear White Hoods, feel like overseers, slave owners or as if what’s needed is to put absolute control over a community that is over 67% Black 85%cited and 93%arrested fined and has been the police/town revenue …fundraiser since who knows how long

Gov. Christie -did what to Seniors the Disabled and Hispanics of NJ in 2010

Hispanics say N.J. Gov. Christie’s proposed budget cuts would hit them hard
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Last updated: Sunday June 20, 2010, 10:27 AM


another Reminder :

The Record

Hispanic leaders are warning that Governor Christie‘s proposed budget cuts will devastate their communities by leaving little or no funding for programs that assist the unemployed, disabled and the destitute, among others.

Leaders are particularly concerned about the pending elimination of the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development, which funnels funds to some 40 agencies that they say serve about 300,000 mostly low-income Latinos annually. The 35-year-old department, they note, is the only state agency that focuses on Hispanics.

The cuts are the latest source of frustration among Hispanics over Christie. They were angered by his decision to drop legal immigrants who are not naturalized U.S. citizens from NJ FamilyCare, a health insurance program for low-income parents, and by the possibility that he would eliminate the Commission on New Americans, a long-awaited initiative by his predecessor to address immigrant issues in New Jersey.

“This is not shared sacrifice,” said Guillermo Beytagh-Maldonado, executive director of the Hispanic Directors Association, an umbrella group, referring to the proposed cuts. “He’s cutting our head off. So many people in New Jersey are talking about how Hispanics are going be profiled in Arizona because of the new immigration law. But right here in New Jersey we’re being profiled, we’re being treated outrageously.”

Hispanics say Christie seems indifferent to the problems and needs of their communities, though Hispanics are now the state’s largest minority group, making up 16 percent of the population. Nearly 30 percent of the state’s Hispanics in New Jersey are uninsured and about 16 percent live in poverty.

Deborah Howlett, the head of New Jersey Policy Perspective, said that about 80 percent of residents will be affected by Christie’s cuts to varying degrees.

“The economic recession has hit minorities harder than other people,” Howlett said. “People in lower income brackets, which include a disproportionate share of Hispanics, are being asked to shoulder more of the burden because they’re more reliant on the social services being cut.”

A spokesman for Christie said the governor was not singling Hispanics out, or acting insensitively toward them.

“No one can possibly say they’re being singled out,” said Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman. “That’s just ridiculous. It’s a wrong assumption. By that logic, we’re targeting every group of every kind.”

“The governor is trying to tackle an $11 billion deficit that he inherited,” Drewniak said. “The cuts must be deep and wide.”

Drewniak said the cuts were not made thoughtlessly.

“We tried to be as careful as we could,” he said. “Everyone is pretty much in the same boat.”

Hispanic leaders say they understand that the governor faces a tough job in trying to deal with the deficit.

“We’re all willing to tighten our belts,” said Lorenzo Hernandez, who heads the Hispanic Information Center of Passaic, one of the agencies that gets funding from the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development.

But Hernandez and other leaders say it is a mistake to slash funding for Hispanic community organizations that serve a group that not only is one of the most needy in the state, but one whose language and cultural barriers make access to services difficult.

“When I lost my job, my employer did not pay me vacation or holiday pay that I was owed,” said Maria Cristina Caballero, a Passaic resident who came to this country from Colombia two years ago. “I tried going for help to public agencies but got nowhere, and I felt I was in a hopeless, dead-end situation.”

Caballero went to the Hispanic Information Center, which provides a wide range of services, including assistance to domestic violence victims, the unemployed and people who need shelter, food and medical attention. The center helped Caballero get the money owed to her by her former employer.

“I would not have gotten it on my own,” Caballero said. “I was truly lost and overwhelmed.”

Many people who turn to the Paramus-based Hispanic Institute for Research and Development, which offers classes such as word processing and English, have lost jobs and are trying to get back on their feet, said Emilio Fandino, the non-profit group’s executive director. Many of the clients of HIRD, which gets about $75,000 from the state, have taken free English and job skills classes elsewhere, but those usually cover only the basics, Fandino said. The institute offers classes in conjunction with Bergen Community College.

“If we stopped getting the funding from the state, maybe about 200 people wouldn’t get the scholarships we give them, and couldn’t take the classes because they can’t afford it,” Fandino said.

Beytagh-Maldonado has met with legislators to drum up support for restoring funds for programs on which many Hispanics depend. Hispanics in New Jersey typically have received inadequate resources from the state government, he said.

“I don’t think the state has ever really adjusted to the reality that Hispanics are the group with the most needs,” he said. “We have the highest dropout rates, highest uninsured, high poverty rate, and the community is growing in New Jersey.”

Of the community-based agencies, he said: “They go with the people to the schools, talk with the teachers, with social workers. These are the people on the front lines who provide preventative services so that problems don’t get bigger and become crises.”

Many of the agencies and programs were set up in the 1970s and 1980s in response to the growth of immigrant residents who lacked the linguistic skills and knowledge about U.S. public agencies to access services on their own.

“So the idea was to have people from the community, who knew the language and culture, to guide these immigrants,” said Frank Argote-Freyre, a professor at Kean University and head of the state Commission on New Americans, an advisory group that has expressed concerns about Christie’s willingness to keep it alive.

Like other Latino leaders, Argote-Freyre and Beytagh-Maldonado called Christie’s decision to drop legal immigrants from the state’s insurance program for the poor a harsh move.

Nearly 12,000 legal immigrant parents are being removed from the program. U.S. citizen parents are also to be denied coverage if their annual family income exceeds $24,000 a year for a family of three.

“They’re taking people from FamilyCare and are going to force them into charity care,” Beytagh-Maldonado said. “When immigrants can’t get access to health care, everyone is affected, everyone’s health is at risk. All these cuts are just going to end up being more expensive for New Jersey in the long run.”



N.J. Assembly fails to override Christie veto of millionaires tax
Monday, June 21, 2010
Last updated: Monday June 21, 2010, 5:01 PM
State House Bureau
TRENTON — Democrats have failed to override Governor Christie’s veto of a tax that would increase taxes on income more than $1 million.The bills, which would devote the proceeds to restoring property tax rebates for seniors and the disabled, died on the Assembly floor Monday when Democrats could not convert any Republicans who voted against it last month, when it passed strictly along partisan lines.Although a majority of Assembly members (47 to 33) voted for the bill, Democrats did not reach the two-thirds majority needed to override it. The override would have required flipping seven Republican votes. Because the override attempt failed in the Assembly, where the bill originated, the Senate will not attempt it.The Assembly and Senate both passed the millionaires tax last month strictly along partisan lines, only to see it vetoed by Christie minutes later.The bill would have raised the tax rate on income over $1 million forapproximately 16,000 households. A companion bill, also vetoed by Christie, would have devoted the funds to restoring property tax rebates for the seniors and disabled as well as cuts to state-supplemented senior drug programs that have since been reversed.The Assembly first took up the companion bill, whichAssemblywoman AmyHandlin (R-Monmouth) said would not help seniors because there is no money to restore rebates.”What can help (seniors) is a hard 2.5 percent cap on property taxes,” she said.*****************************************************
N.J. Senate resolution urges Christie not to join health care reform lawsuit
Monday, June 21, 2010
State House Bureau
The state Senate Monday approved a resolution urging Governor Christie not to join 20 other states in a lawsuit against the federal health care reform law.Christie has faced pressure from conservative activists to join the suit, which argues the law’s penalty on individuals for not buying insurance is unconstitutional. Senate Democrats, in turn, responded with the resolution, which points out that Christie was able to restore proposed cuts to subsidized senior drug programs in part with money allocated from the law.Christie has not said whether he plans to join the suit. Most of the states challenging the law have either Republican governors or elected Republican attorneys general.“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be for the senior citizens and use the Obama health care plan to fund their programs and then challenge it in court,” said state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a sponsor.

The state Senate Monday approved a resolution urging Governor Christie not to join 20 other states in a lawsuit against the federal health care reform law.

Christie has faced pressure from conservative activists to join the suit, which argues the law’s penalty on individuals for not buying insurance is unconstitutional. Senate Democrats, in turn, responded with the resolution, which points out that Christie was able to restore proposed cuts to subsidized senior drug programs in part with money allocated from the law.

Christie has not said whether he plans to join the suit. Most of the states challenging the law have either Republican governors or elected Republican attorneys general.

“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be for the senior citizens and use the Obama health care plan to fund their programs and then challenge it in court,” said state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a sponsor.